Grief. It’s very real. It comes in different forms, sometimes subtle, hovering just below the surface, and sometimes like a gray blanket suffocating our hearts.

I recently received an e-mail from a mom filled with tears and sorrow. Her pain stemmed from the loss of her son…not by death, but by moving on to college. From what I could tell, he had been gone for a while and, yet, her grief was so real that it was as if he had just left. This mom was desperate and asked to find a way to release her pain once and for all.

I receive questions like this mom’s on a regular basis. Whether someone is grieving the loss of a child moving on, grieving a divorce, or grieving the death of a loved one, so often, they can’t let go.

If you are holding onto some form of grief, I’d like to offer a few thoughts to help you let go. First, I invite you to ask what this person or situation gave you that you still crave. For instance, in this mom’s case, I asked her what her son gave to her that she now needs to give to herself? Did he give her a sense of purpose? Did he make her laugh? Did he give her lots of hugs and now she needs to give them to herself? You have to ask yourself these questions. What did the person or situation you need to release from your life give you? How did it fill you up?

No matter what kind of grief you are experiencing, it is a gift to create a connection to your heart. Allow yourself to feel the pain. And then when you’re ready, ask what the grief is trying to show you about yourself.

I felt tremendous grief when my late hubby, Steve, passed away two years ago. Our family was no longer whole. My best friend was gone. And I was now a single mother. Without a doubt, I knew it was Steve’s time to go. He had fought cancer and beaten it. However, his body was quickly breaking down due to the intense radiation treatments. His greatest fear was that he would become like his father and die a slow death that took almost ten years to finally let go. I had heard Steve say many times over the 19 years we were together that he just wanted to go quickly. He didn’t want to die like his dad did. Well, Steve got his wish. He died of a massive heart attack that took his life within seconds of it hitting.

I was so thankful that Steve got his wish. However, my grief was still immense. As I walked through the pain, sometimes beating my bed in anger, sometimes curled up in a ball, I looked deep within to see what I was holding onto. The thread that stayed with me the longest was my fear of making business decisions. I missed Steve’s wisdom and guidance. I missed that I never had to think about business too much, because I could always depend on him. Ironically, the day after Steve passed I took a walk and invited his spirit to come with me. I felt his presence and asked, “Steve, what is the gift of your passing? What am I supposed to be learning from this? I could wait ten years and look back on this time and figure it out, but I want to walk through this with grace. What are you trying to teach me?”

In my mind I heard Steve say, “You are going to surround yourself with women. And, you’re going to become a better business woman.”

Steve was right on all of the above. However, it was the journey of trusting myself in making major business decisions that grieved me the most. Steve had been an entrepreneur and was involved in many business ventures. When he passed, I found myself surrounded by lawyers and business men, making decisions I would have never imagined doing by myself, due to a probate that my lawyer deemed “a rat’s nest.” This was truly one of my favorite gifts of Steve’s passing. I got grounded in the fact that I am a capable woman of making life’s major business decisions. And in spite of mistakes made along the way, I am more joyous and centered in who I am than ever before!

When you hold onto grief, know that there is a tremendous gift being presented to you. Ask what you’re holding onto and then take action to heal. For me, I had to take tiny steps in trust, gaining my confidence. For the mom I wrote about earlier, she will have to go within and see what is yearning to be healed. But what I know for sure is that as she takes action, she will become more connected to her heart, and feel more joyous and alive than she’s ever felt before!

Author's Bio: 

Terri Amos-Britt is the author of "Message Sent" and her recently completed book, "The Enlightened Mom," as well as co-author of the bestseller, "Wake Up Women." As a spiritual coach and motivational speaker, Terri shares her experiences as a wife, mom, step-mom, former Miss USA and television host, inspiring others to release the emotional chaos in their lives, creating lives of passion, purpose and love. Terri is the co-founder of the Enlightened Family Institute with her husband, Charlie Britt. Their mission is to bring hope and healing to individuals and families all over the world. For more information, please go to